Reducing Early School Leaving in the EU

L.Ryan-DAngeloUK Research Team: Prof Louise Ryan, Alessio D’Angelo, Neil Kaye, Magdolna Lőrinc

A team including Professor Louise Ryan and Alessio D’Angelo (pictured) of the Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) has been awarded a research grant of more than €6.4 million. The European consortium, lead by Antwerp University, will investigate the impact of early school leaving for a five year research project under the EU Framework 7 programme.

Early school leaving has been identified by the European Commission as a particular challenge facing many EU member states. It is associated with high youth unemployment, a lack of employment related skills and a wide array of other social problems.

Professor Ryan, Co-Director of the SPRC, said: “This is an important achievement for the Social Policy Research Centre and demonstrates its growing reputation as a site of research excellence. This research grant follows on from several other successes in recent years including ESRC grants, a prestigious KTP grant and other FP7 awards. It is the largest grant we have had to date, and marks an exciting start to our new location within the School of Law”.

About the project

Researching Early School Leaving ( aims to provide insights into the mechanisms and processes influencing a pupil’s decision to leave school/training early; as well as into the decision of early school leavers to enrol in alternative learning arenas such as training schemes. Additionally, the project focuses on the vulnerable group of youngsters that left education or training early and are identified as NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training). Overall, the project aims to identify and analyse the intervention and compensation measures that succeeded in transferring knowledge and in keeping pupils in education and training. Collecting data in nine partner countries (Belgium, UK, Sweden, Portugal, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, Hungary and Austria), the team will use a mixed-method design, working at local, national and international level. Fieldwork will include over 1,100 focus groups and interviews and an international survey, coordinated by Middlesex University’s team, with over 28,000 participants, which will generate in-depth data and allow systematic comparisons and quantitative generalisations. Results will be targeted at different audiences and stakeholders: EU and national policy makers, school staff, academics and civil society.